Fool’s Gold and Political Polls, a Poor Substitute for Substantive Policy

di Joe Volpe del October 20, 2019

No one can predict the outcome of Monday’s election. But there is a big industry in the business of “reading the signs” – guessing what the people think about whom and about what. A little like polished pyrite glistening in a shallow torrent and “impersonating” gold.

It is as unsophisticated as that. Forget the blather about the “science”, the “methodology” (voice over internet, live calls, algorithms etc.). Canada’s best Prime Minister, Paul Martin – because he appointed me to Cabinet – the last Reactionary Conservative Prime Minister, Steven Harper were both sucked into decisions by advisors who relied on their “scientists”.

Kathleen Wynne made her decisions based on the accuracy of the same “scientists” who brought down Martin. This is all Ancient practice, millennial in the making.

Romans went into battle after their scientists interpreted the entrails of birds. Greeks consulted the oracle at Delphi. Jews sacrificed lambs. Vikings, anything that bled ... you get the picture. None of them forgot technology (weaponry), training (the “ground game”, organizational purpose) and strategy (convincing the “public” of the purpose for war).

Canada’s 2019 federal election may well go down in history as the one conducted by adolescent strategists who were/are convinced that a well-placed tweet will shatter the defences of any opponent (closet disciples of Cardinal Richelieu); a federal campaign where puerile accusations and character assassinations by association and innuendo replaced rational debate on policy.

All Canadians are losers in this game. But we should all vote, so that the next time we can be more forceful in holding “the proverbial them” to account. We are pretty adept at doing that. Canada’s political graveyards are filled with the once-popular “leaders” who lost their way, so to speak.

Judging from the most notable seat-projection “scientists” (organizations that convert popular support into constituencies likely to be won) – Canada 338, CBC’s Poll Tracker and the Laurier Institute for the Study Public of Policy (LISPOP) – Justin Trudeau may be joining them. It is still too early to say. I voted, but another 13,000,000 fellow citizens have yet to do likewise.

Nonetheless, those projections place the two main parties at roughly low 130s in seat likely to be won. A Party needs 170 to win a majority. If these numbers hold up until Monday night, the Liberals, who gained 184 seats in 2015 – 150 of them brand new – may lose 33% of their new MPs. Some of them are good men and women genuinely interested in the common good of the country. There are some in all Parties.

No party is poised to win a majority. So, the last several days have been set aside for pettiness, mudslinging and character assassination. And, naturally, the “spinning” of the facts … distortion to deceive.

You decide who profits most, because, by all appearances, we could be at this again within two years.

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